What do the three things listed in this title have in common?
They’re all crappy. But let’s leave my computer out of this, it’s just old.
On seeing a news item this morning about the aforementioned *ahem* “news” person, my blood began getting hot all over again about a subject that drives me nuts – SEO. Before I elaborate, let’s discuss what I read.
Apparently the obnoxious program host or the floundering network she works for has been maintaining hundreds of spambot Twitter accounts posting the same messages in an attempt to boost her show’s visibility. This is not surprising, given that in economic terms the network should have gone under years ago. Thankfully Twitter has suspended the accounts. This the same day that another essentially un-watched show from the same network reportedly has hit the lowest viewership since it’s inception.
The question arises: Why the need to artificially inflate the visibility? The answer is simple: no one watches it because it’s just not a good show. If it were, the viewership would be better than, say, the average YouTube video. But it’s not. So the solution, according to the geniuses at MSNBC, is to fake it.
A Fake by Any Other Name
Which brings me to SEO. There is nothing wrong with using tags or keywords in order to help people find content that they may be searching for. Unfortunately, this is not what SEO means anymore. It has become a game of “push it to the top” in order to make money. There is also nothing wrong with making money, and a good product or service will do that without “faking it”.
We are living in a time when scruples are usually near the bottom of the list of marketers, if they make the list at all. I do believe, thankfully, that this is being minimized with newer and ever changing algorithms on search and with the rise of thought leaders like Seth Godin and Chris Brogan, who emphasize real connections and “permission marketing”.
The results of faking it are the same as any underhanded method of promotion: short-term gains, long-term reputation failure. It eventually come to light (content mills, are you listening?).
I give advice based on principles, not dollar signs – although the two are not mutually exclusive by any means. I’m also not leading the marketing for a Fortune 500 company, so take it as you will.
The bottom line is that if you create good content and promote honestly and with human connections, you will succeed. If you can’t succeed that way, please find something else to do and stop poisoning the airwaves and screens with crap just so that you don’t have to find something that you are actually good at.